Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to tell if you’ve finally become an Israeli

The Our Shiputzim Editorial Board proudly presents:

The Top 10 Ways You Know Your Klitah* Is Complete

(10) Your American relatives mention that their kids’ school has a strictly-enforced “no-nit policy,” and you assume they must be joking.

(9) Your husband has been to at least one wedding without a jacket or tie, and you had no problem with his attire.

(8) You know what everything on the school supplies list means.

(7) You casually call your children’s teachers at home, and you don’t feel guilty about it.

(6) When one of the aforementioned teachers announces to the class, on the first day of school, that she prefers “10-shurot notebooks” - even though the list said “14-shurot notebooks”  (see item #8) - you don’t panic or immediately run out to the store. Instead, you politely ask (see item #7) if you can keep the 14-shurot “because of the expense of replacing them.” And when the teacher answers your question with a question and inquires if you think your child can handle the 14-shurot, you blithely reply in the affirmative – even if you haven’t the slightest idea if this is actually true…

(5) You can barely remember the days when you used to talk about things like shalosheudes” and “yontif.

(4) Not only do your kids speak fluent Heblish, but so do you…

(3) You see stunning photos of gorgeous autumn foliage and pristine snow-covered lawns, and all you can think about is how grateful you are that you no longer have to worry about raking leaves or shoveling your driveway.

(2) During winter trips abroad (i.e. to chutz laAretz or chu”l, for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you), you wonder why all the homes you visit are ridiculously and uncomfortably overheated.

(1) You have discovered that when all else fails in sticky social situations – you know, the kind your Israeli offspring refer to as MAH zeh fadichah! – there is absolutely no statute of limitations on skillfully playing the powerful New Oleh Card…


What would you add to this list?


*Klitah (קליטה) – Literally, “absorption.” Refers to the process of adjusting, adapting and acclimating to Israeli society.


  1. Corollary to #2 is that you pack your heavy sweaters when you visit on Hanuka only to realize that you are just shlepping them around and really should have brought a few summer blouses.

  2. Nice list. The lines about teachers made me smile.
    I wonder what I'd think of a warm climate all-year round. I like the warmth but not the heat.

  3. Great list!
    How about: You don't even blink when you ask for directions and they tell you "go straight until the chicken coop, then make a right when you see the guy who sells watermelons."

  4. Risa - Exactly! Many years ago, family friends visited what was then the USSR in the middle of the winter. When they got home to Israel, they talked about how hot they were during their stay in Moscow!

    Ilana-Davita - Thanks! The past few weeks, it has definitely not been warm here! :-)

    Raizy - Haha! Even worse is when they tell you, "make a right when you see the place where there used to be a guy selling watermelons..." :-)

  5. Raizy, nice one!
    I decided a long time ago that I would consider myself Israeli when I could say "Hareshut Haleumit Livtichut Badrachim" at the same pace as those guys on the radio. I've been able to do it for a few years! But I don't think I'll ever stop being an olah chadasha :)

  6. After 10 years in Israel, I finally let my US driver's license lapse. This was very significant to me in internalizing the fact (that I thought has been a given for years) that I am not going back and I'm here for good.

  7. Toby - LOL! :-)

    Anonymous - All joking aside, I think every oleh eventually has a "wow! I'm here for good!" moment. For me, it happened when our first sabra was born.

  8. Shalom!
    Sorry, but I can't help with any examples. I've been here too long. ;o)

    I have had the pleasure of being mistaken for a Sabarit a few times.

  9. Hadassa - That's very impressive! As soon as I open my mouth - and sometimes, even before that - my accent gives me away... :-)
    Shabbat Shalom!


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